I love both watercolor and embroidery. Often, when I find myself "stuck" with one medium I will go to the other until eventually, I brought them both together. I love combining these two mediums! I love the dimensional element embroidery adds to paper. I think it also adds a fun and unexpected design element to your watercolors. I like the additional hand made feel, as well. You know when you see something that has been embroidered that someone has put a little extra sweat equity into the project, thereby adding to its charm and uniqueness. Personally, I love seeing/receiving something that someone put that kind of good energy into!
It is in this spirit that I made this fun little project for us to try together. I painted some cute vanilla ice cream cones to which we will be adding some adorable french knot sprinkles!
Here is the PDF to Print in order to get started:
I have included three sizes so you can choose the one you want to work with. In the end, I put them on blank cards. The largest sized cone fit nicely on a 5 x 6.5 card while the smaller sizes fit well on a 4 x 5.5 blank card, just to give you an idea.
Let's start by gathering together some supplies:
You will need a nice sharp little pair of scissors, an embroidery needle, some embroidery floss, your free printable, and if you would like to make these into cards, you will need a blank notecard on which to glue your cone once it is embroidered. (I'll get into the adhesive a little later).
* I printed my PDF on a matte photo paper which worked beautifully for this project. It is thick enough to hold embroidery but also thin enough to be slightly see-through and easy to poke holes into.
The six stranded cotton embroidery floss is available in any craft or sewing store. It is really inexpensive and comes in every shade you can imagine. You can buy the colors individually or in a nice starter package with a variety of shades. I like using the DMC thread. It is really easy to work with and I love the colors but over the years I have collected all different kinds of brands and colors and there are tons of great ones to choose from. As far as the needle size, I try to get a needle that has a decent sized eye. Nothing worse than trying to thread a needle with a teeny tiny eye hole....just a recipe for frustration and unnecessary expletives.
These are sized 5-10 embroidery needles. See the eye size? You want something like the fifth from the left.
O.K., so the first thing you want to do, is to thread your needle. Grab about 18 inches of your thread and cut a strand. If you cut too long of a strand it will get tangled while working with it; too short and you will run out of thread too quickly. You will get the feel of how much to use after doing it a couple of times.
Once you have cut a length of your thread, divide the six strands in half. Slowly pull them apart. Now use one of the three stranded lengths to thread your needle. I like to wet the ends to get them to stick together and then carefully thread them through the eye of the needle. (I forgot to mention that there are needle threaders you can buy at the store which help with this but I just go old school.)
There you go. Pull it through a little and then put a knot at the other end. I tie two knots on top of each other to make sure the knot will not pull through the paper.
At this point, you might like to get a pencil and mark where you want your sprinkles to go. This is optional so you can pre-plan the spacing of your sprinkles. If you have a good eye or wish to be more spontaneous, you can skip this step.
Another optional step is to pre-punch your holes using a needle so that you know where you will need to bring up your stitch (you work from the back of the paper, so you will not see the image clearly.) There are piercing tools for this very purpose that come in varying degrees of thickness.
This is an example of a piercing tool. It is just a needle attached to a handle that you can use to pre-punch your embroidery holes. This project would require a really fine needle, as you do not want to pull your knot right through the hole, which could happen if the hole is too big.
O.K, let's get started! Take your needle and push it through one of the spots you made (or wherever you see fit) from the back side of the paper through to the front.
Notice you can see through to the other side if you lift your paper slightly. Go ahead and pierce the needle through to the other side. You may want to have something on your table to prevent any needle marks (like a small piece of cardboard or something.)
Now turn the piece of paper over.
Here is your image with the needle pulled through to this side.
Here is the tricky part to describe. Bring your needle up to the thread. Since I am shooting the pictures I can't show you that you hold the thread taut with your left hand while holding the needle with your right. Take the thread behind the needle and then wrap it around the needle three times.
Once you have wrapped the thread around the needle from back to front three times you will push the needle back through the hole you already made. You will want to continue to hold the thread taut with your left hand and the needle with your right and carefully pull the needle through. The thread you looped around the needle should form a nice little knot.
Above, I am holding that thread nice and tight with my left hand and the right is pulling the needle through to the other side.
There it is. A cute little french knot, doing a great job of impersonating a sprinkle. *If you got this on the first try, AWESOME!! If you didn't, don't worry. It can seem a little clumsy at first. It may take a few tries. Once you get the first one, though, it gets a whole lot easier!
Maybe a video might help. I am a visual learner and sometimes I just need to watch someone else do it first.
Keep going until you want to switch colors. To change colors, you want to make a knot on the back to tie off your current color and start a new one.
Turn over the paper to the back side and find a stitch to slide your needle underneath.
Once you have slid your needle underneath a stitch, you will see a loop. Slide your needle through that loop to make a knot. I like to do that twice to make it nice and tight. If it is loose, the embroidery on the other side will sag.
What happens when you pull a little too hard and the knot goes flying right through the paper? A giant hole in your picture. Guess what? I have a totally easy fix!
Simply turn your paper over to the back and put some scotch tape right over the hole. Now it is safe to re-do your knot and cover up that hole. No Problem-o.
Keep adding your sprinkles until you are satisfied with how your cone looks.
Once you are finished, cut around your cone with your scissors. I cut this one right around the image but you can leave a border if you like, too.
To make a card, you will need some kind of adhesive. I really love this foam tape. I keep mine in my art table so it has little eraser shavings all over it, lol. This tape is great because it gives your card a 3-D effect. I cut a couple of squares and stack them on top of each other for extra height.
Center it on your card and voila! Now you have a nice hand made card.
Feel free to get creative. Try some line shaped sprinkles.
How about some sparkly beads?
Make a whole bunch and then have them ready to give for any occasion!
Thanks for stopping by and Happy Creating!